UPDATE: Brazil reaches 391,222 confirmed cases, death toll rises to 24,512

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Brazil’s latest coronavirus update reports 16,324 new cases and 1,039 new deaths over the past 24 hours, taking the total tally to 391,222 infections and 24,512 deaths.

A new study by researchers at Washington University suggests the official numbers could increase fivefold over the next month. However, data compiled by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) have an estimated range of 68,311 to 221,078 deaths by early in August — considering just 19 of Brazil’s 27 states.

IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray wrote that “Brazil must follow the lead of Wuhan, China, as well as Italy, Spain, and New York by enforcing mandates and measures to gain control of a fast-moving epidemic and reduce transmission of the coronavirus.

Dismissive about the deaths?

Citing four independent sources, Reuters journalists Stephen Eisenhammer and Gabriel Stargardter reported today that the federal government, by way of the president’s chief of staff Walter Braga Netto, consciously dismantled initial efforts put forward by the Health Ministry early in March to contain the coronavirus spread. 

Quoting Julio Croda, an epidemiologist who headed the ministry’s immunization and transmittable diseases department, Reuters said officials linked to the Economy Ministry were dismissive about the outbreak. “‘It’s good that deaths are concentrated among the old,” Mr. Croda recalled Solange Vieira, an ally of Economy Minister Paulo Guedes, saying. “‘That will improve our economic performance as it will reduce our pension deficit.’”

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